20 July 2010

Gimme a K, Gimme an L!

As some of you may know, I’ve recently left my beautiful hometown of Brisbane to begin the next exciting chapter of my life.  I’ve chosen to zigzag through Asia, the UK and Europe on my way to an exchange semester in Copenhagen.

The first stop of my journey was Kuala Lumpur.  The weather was warm and humid which was a stark contrast to Brisbane’s somewhat chilly and dry winter.  I stayed at a hostel in the heart of Bukit Bintang; a vibrant precinct lined with bars, restaurants, shops and markets.  Upon finding my hostel, I was greeted by a number of prostitutes (one of them was definitely a ladyboy!) who worked for the massage parlour in the same building as my hostel.

That night I caught up with Samira and her friends at a spaceship-shaped nightclub named Zouk.  It was an amazing club, like one of those you see in RnB videos.  After taking advantage of their 2-for-1 jugs of basic spirits, we had a loose time dancing away to the likes of Salt n Peppa, Cindy Lauper and even a song from Glee! I remember getting kicked off the dancing podium for being a guy which was rather embarrassing!

Despite suffering a hangover and jetlag the next day, I trekked over to the awe-inspiring Batu Caves (pictured) where I was greeted by a large golden statue of the Hindu deity, Murugan.  Once in the limestone cave, I witnessed bats, chickens (I don’t know how they ended up there), and some fangin’ evil monkeys.  The monkeys were about as cute as the ones in the Wizard of Oz.  The caves were littered with many tacky tourist shops and I thought this over-commercialisation of such a sacred place was disappointing.

That evening I bumped into a Canadian girl I’d met on the bus from the airport. I decided to join her for dinner, with her Malay friend, Mac, who ran a well-known hostel in KL.  Mac drove us out to what seemed like the middle of nowhere to an Indian Restaurant named Raju.  Gigantic banana leaves were used in favour of plates and our hands were our cutlery of choice! The curries, breads, garnishes and meats we tried were literally finger-lickin’ awesome.  One of the things I like most about KL is that it’s a melting pot of several ethnicities and cultures.  Everywhere you look there are Muslim Malays, as well as Malays of Indian and Chinese origin (just to name a few).  The food on offer in this city reflects this multiculturalism providing a very refreshing experience.

On Friday, Samira spoilt me with some VIP treatment! We had a chauffeur drive us around the sights of KL and Sam did a wonderful job as my personal tour-guide, even providing me with a personalised itinerary!  I was particularly impressed with the National Monument (pictured) and the Islamic Art Museum.  We lunched inside the Petronas Towers, where Sam showed me Malaysia’s best kept secret: 100 Plus.  It was a citrus soft drink with more bite than an anaconda.  I can't wait to get my hands on it again to experiment with some mixed drinks.

That night I ate at Jalan Alor (pictured). Jalan Alor become a favourite place of mine in KL, with plenty of cheap street-food and drinks (I'm talking AUD2 a meal!).  We were serenaded by the hippest and most laid-back busker ever.  I invited him to sit with us and before we knew it, we’d been singing along together to his acoustic guitar for two hours.  By day he was a Tesco slave and by night he was a young mohawked wannabe rockstar.  It was fascinating to hear his perspective on politics, society, work, and romance in Malaysia.  His wife had divorced him because she believed he was too passionate about following his musical dreams. He plays music each night in tourist hot spots to continue to support her and his son.

Later on, we crashed a birthday party at Zouk courtesy of Mac.  It was pretty sweet. The party host and his friends treated me like a long-lost brother and ensured my glass of whisky was never less than full!

On Saturday, a group of us ventured up to one of the tallest towers in the world, the KL Tower.  I’d wanted to go up the tower earlier in the week, but KL was constantly victim to some bad haze.  We were blessed with a clear view of the city’s great landmarks like the Petronas Towers (pictured) and the Batu Caves.

We also visited the KL Cultural Village at the base of the tower, and received a private tour of the Bukit Nanas Reserve, an ancient (over 3 million years old) rainforest (pictured) on the same hill as the KL Tower.

That night we had a few drinks at the hostel’s rooftop overlooking the city (pictured).  We later went out to a karaoke bar in BB Plaza (one of the greatest shopping centres I’ve ever been to) for one last hurrah before going our separate ways.  On our way there we were highly entertained by public capoeira battles.  It was a super fun evening to end my time in KL, filled with old songs, new friends and unlimited food and slushies.


Anonymous said...

Courageo, hope KL's going great man (certainly looks stunning). Since on behalf of many I'm still mildly devastated I missed the mighty electric boogaloo goodbye I was wanted to wish a great trip mate, charlie

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